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Friday, October 28, 2016

Colors of October quilt - autumn inspirations and few questions for you all...

Hello everyone,

I hope you are enjoying some beautiful days of autumn where you are. Here in western NY, it is really a spectacular, colorful and oh so inspiring time of the year. Even this year, when leaf colors might not be as spectacular as they can (long summer drought), so many moments take me breath away and make me pull out my phone camera quick...

This vista is actually just few steps away from the back of the building I work in, so I took a short stroll during lunch break. I could sit and watch this for hours!

maples are the ones to usually give you these spectacular colors. But what always gets me is their juxtaposition against this bright, blue sky!!

And as reds, fire orange and deep golds are the usual colors that draw the attention, I am always amazed with this yellow, chartreuse and bright greens too - specially again, against that blue sky...
I really, really want to make a quilt in just these colors!

Just look at these!

Oh and the dance of light...

Well I did make one quilt, long time ago, directly inspired by amazing colors of fall - I call it Colors of October.

 I love this quilt.

It was designed specifically for the class - a class my beginner students wanted. After completing the Beginner Quilting, they all asked me to teach them some more! The best compliment teacher can get!! So I designed this quilt to teach some alternative, fun and easy techniques for making Flying Geese, Bow Tie and Square-in-Square blocks, as well as free-hand, gentle curved piecing for the border. They loved the class and many students still love it! (currently teaching it in local quilt shop) - and that just makes me so happy.

Here it is in full view (but not not the best photo - it's an old one. Quilt is currently in the quilt shop, so I can't take a new photo just yet)

I also use this quilt as an example of certain type of thread choices for quilting, I use it to show how you can pick a palette of fabric colors starting from the initial inspirational print (fall foliage print in the border and center of this one) and even how you can dress-up your binding with some accent color piping (thin purple one here).

So I decided to make a new version! In different, yet still fall-inspired colors and on a light background this time. And few other little surprises too.
So here is my selection - what do you think??

This time I did NOT go from the inspirational print and pulled the colors - I actually went the opposite way! I saw this line-up of Cotton & Steel colors, decided on the off-white one for a background and only then I went around the store in search of a potential print that will work for all of them!! It was a bit more challenging than the other way around, I have to say!

How do you do this usually? 

And here is another question for you: 
I am thinking this would be a great set of tutorials on the you agree? Would you like to see a series of tutorials on following:

-easy ways to make HSTs
-Bear paw block (middle block in this quilt)
- easy (from squares only!) 3D Bow Tie blocks (and bonus 3D Square-in-Square block too)
- several ways to make Flying geese block
- curve-pieced borders
- and few other bonus things too... :)

You could choose to make this exact  quilt or just practice each technique as we go. We can even make it as a sew-a-long, with prizes and fun? We can do it weekly, bi-weekly or monthly?

Let me know what you think!!

Wishing you inspirational joys of autumn,

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Inspiration time! - The Heartland Blog Tour

Hello friends,

and welcome to my stop of the beautiful, inspirational Heartland Blog Tour!

I hope you already visited Alicia of Sew What Alicia and Paola (on Instagram as @loveoffabric) to see some gorgeous creations posted yesterday!

We are celebrating the release of Pat Bravo's newest, fresh, gorgeous Heartland fabric collection!
It is fresh, beautiful and with colors that just sing along with my current surroundings and inspirations - bold yellow and gold/mustard, some stormy-sky grays, and then everything in between... Love it!
So of course I was excited when Pat put out a "call for makers" and over the moon when I was one of twenty makers chosen!! I just feel so humble and grateful and...HAPPY!! :)

I immediately pulled out my handy Quilt Planner with all those graph-paper like pages and started doodling... Pat said - think Scandinavian!! That, together with some of the fabric designs made me doodle this...

It was an idea for a table runner with some tall pines and some big sky stars. Then it developed a bit and got colored in EQ7, and became this:

I call this one Big Sky Runner. 
What do you think? Yes? 
I played some more and with different backgrounds and also wanted to expand it into a bigger quilt, so this is what precipitated at the end:

This one is Big Nordic Sky. 
There is many more versions of these designs, but that can be a whole another post - design process.

Now, on to the REAL FUN - playing with fabrics!

Aren't these just gorgeous?!

I really love my table runner idea, but in order for it to work and be a good size (actual table runner!) there were some itty-bitty HSTs to be made...YEIKS!!
Trusty Thangles to the rescue and it wasn't really that bad...

They really are only 1 1/2" big!
My friend Robi, a miniature specialist, would be so proud of me! (Hi Robi! :)  )

And some utterly cute little stars were born... (if I may say so myself).

That little Hoot owl!!! Just too cute! I might have to design a whole quilt around them, and also get some of the knit fabrics for my little grand babes...

But after few more HSTs and some quarter-star blocks, here is basic layout on the wall:

And then for some tall pines...

I really liked it at this point!! One of those moments when real life design looks just as good as the virtual one! (not always the case, right?)

It was time to quilt!!
Now, here is where my struggle was: I love, love, love free motion quilting! And I am much better at that then straight line quilting! But hey, we need to challenge ourselves and grow, right? Specially when design call for it. So with beautiful gray 50wt Aurifil in the machine, off I go!!

Those owls just beg to be photographed!! :)

And yes, I just posted that real close-up, with all my imperfections! Oh well, practice, practice, practice...

Here it is, all done and bound:

I think tall pines do need some more quilting... What do you think?
But to be on time for this lovely blog tour, I left it at that for now. I will update you on final decision!
I apologize for not the best light in my sewing room. I have my hubby working on that...
So time to take this Big Sky Runner outside for few more photos!

I am working on that lap quilt too and promise to post it here as soon as I am done!
I am also working on posting both of these patterns as free patterns on Craftsy - what do you think? Would you make it? :)

I hope you are inspired as this wonderful Blog Tour takes flight - make sure to go visit Lisa Chavez today too and then tomorrow it is Lisa Serino's  and Aimee Leptic's turn!
And there is so much more to come!

 Bookmark Pat Bravo's blog post with the whole list and - keep hoping and being inspired!! I can't wait to see what everyone makes!!

I would love to hear what do you think about this design and how do you come up with your ideas - leave me a comment and thank you so much for spending some time with me today!

Wishing you joy and inspiration,

PS - is it crazy that I remembered this picnick table we have at work and brought the table runner with me, just to take another photo today? Yeah, it probably is. But I like the photos so here they are! Ha ha!

#TheHeartlandBlogTour #PatBravoDesign #ArtGalleryFabrics #HeartlandFabrics #Aurifil

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fun with weaving!

Hello everyone,

You know that great feeling of excitement when you try something new? And it works? And it's fun? And you just can't wait to do more? And share, of course... :)

Well, that us how I felt last Sunday! 

If you haven't already "met" (in social media) Mathew Boudreaux, aka Mister Domestic , you need to do it pronto!! Such a creative and fun guy who shares his talent so generously and creates some really amazing things! So, GO!!
Anyway,  Mathew recently started a Weave-A-Long, teaching us all how to do this really beautiful weaving with fabrics strips, on an angle! You can find the step-by-step on his blog HERE.

I have a love affair with all things weaving anyway, but if you combine beautiful fabric and weaving - well, I just can't miss that! And yes, I have a million other things I should be doing, a long, long TO-DO list of projects, but I just had to quickly order the WEFTY fabric weaving needle, cut some strips and try it!
I quickly pulled a nice stack of Pat Bravo's beautiful Rock 'n Romance fabric (it is an older collection), cut  my strips, pressed them and started the process. The WEFTY needle is a simple tool, but it really makes it so much easier!

Here is my start - all vertical strips (layer 1), pinned to the board and first few 30 degree angle strips (layer 2), started - I loved it already then!


Here is Layer 2 completed - isn't this a great look and texture?

Yes, lots of pins are needed...

Now on to the layer #3.
It took me a few trials to get the hang of it, but once you see the design emerging, it kinda all makes sense. Since WEFTY needle comes in two sizes, larger one used in this project - I used the smaller one to help me "guide" the large one when coming under the layers (it can get stuck in the folds of the fabric).
Here is that first strip going through...

And then some more...
(sorry for the bad light - I moved downstairs to the living room to hang out with my family at this point - kinda like that this project is somewhat portable like that!)

And here it is DONE - YAY!!
I really, really like this look and texture and...everything! I can see it in so many different color combinations too.

After following Mathew's great tips on how to finish it and take it off the board, here it is trimmed and ready to be something!!
I think pillow...?

Love all the trimmings too! LOL!

YES - at this point I am sure it will be a pillow, but I want to do another one in slightly different combo of these gorgeous Rock 'n Romance fabrics. My youngest son's girlfriend really loves this color combo, so it just might be a pair of pillows for their little office window bench... :)

But you know why else I want to do a pillow? Mister Domestic, being a total overachiever that he is, (but that is why we love him!!) also shared a really cool way to make the back for a pillow and I want to try that! You can find it HERE .

In the meantime, I already cut and pressed a new set of strips for that second one. I realized that pressing goes much faster for me if I leave all my strips the full length (a width of fabric) and cut them later. Also, a HUGE help with pressing is my 1" grid on the ironing board canvas cover! Not sure what I would do without it!!

Last night, after cutting for another project (more about that next time!) and pressing all of these strips I got tired... So, again, taking advantage of portability - here I am weaving in bed! Hey, what can I say - my feet were achy and this worked! 
Of course, having a snuggle-buddy right at my feet is a pure bonus! :)

It was getting late, hubby was already grumbling that we have to get up early, but I had to go to the Layer #3, just to see the color combo...

OK, now I was happy and ready to sleep. Yeah, it was after 1 AM, but hey, it's all worth it, right?

'Till next time, wishing you joy and creative inspirations,

PS - if you go to try this weaving, let me know!